Jay Bell has resigned as hitting coach of the Pirates in order to accept the bench coach position with the Cincinnati Reds. Bell served as the hitting coach of the Pirates for just one season. Whatever the impact Bell may have had on the team, it was minor. The Pirates posted a modest gain in OBP in 2013 over the prior season. Jordy Mercer had a breakout season and Jose Tabata hit with some consistency for the first time since his rookie season in 2010. Perhaps Bell had a positive effect on their performances.
I’ll be frank, hitting coaches generally make little difference. The biggest function of a hitting coach is to take some heat off the manager. A hitting coach gives fans someone other than the manager to bitch about. They may help break down video of a player’s swing or provide a struggling hitter some counsel to talk about hitting when things aren’t clicking, but there isn’t much more value in that than what a close buddy on the team could provide. MLB teams would probably be better served to hire a head shrinker for players to talk to when they go through slumps. Of course then there would be one less sacrificial lamb that a manager could throw under the bus when he needs to save his skin.